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Maoist battle workshop

New Delhi, July 26: The Centre today held a meeting to start fine-tuning its anti-Maoist strategy after renewed attacks and fears of a let-up in security forces’ offensive in at least one affected state.

The “workshop”, as one home ministry official described the event, was attended by 65 officers, including 27 SPs, DIGs and central paramilitary force commandants. No Bengal officer was present, with sources attributing it to preoccupation with the panchayat polls.

The meeting comes days after five policemen were killed in Bihar’s Aurangabad and two months after at least 28 people were shot in Chhattisgarh, almost wiping out the Congress top rung in the state.

A fresh point of concern is Jharkhand — eight of whose officers attended the meeting — after a new government took charge recently.

“I am writing to express serious concerns about LWE (Left-wing extremism) and tell you to help the police,” home minister Sushil Shinde wrote to chief minister Hemant Soren last week.

The letter was part of a message congratulating the JMM leader on his swearing-in. But it betrayed fears that Jharkhand, where anti-rebel operations had been one of the most intensive under central rule, could be affected now.

Under President’s rule, governor Syed Ahmed had as his security advisers former CRPF boss K. Vijay Kumar — a veteran of anti-rebel battles — and ex-home secretary Madhukar Gupta. The two have since left the state after their assignments ended. At today’s meeting, the officers gave feedback from the field and will help frame uniform operational guidelines.